Monday we walked to the market for groceries. It’s the equivalent of about ½ mile. In this market there are two European grocery stores that sell things we are familiar with (at a price!). For example, we purchased a one quart bottle of milk imported from England for the equivalent of about $9. Paul doesn’t really like the taste of the boxed milk, but given it’s 9 times more than the local boxed milk, he’s going to start liking boxed milk (it’s not that bad if it’s cold). We kept getting offers to carry our groceries through the store (at a price, a recurring theme). We resisted until checkout, because we bought more than we could reasonably carry out. Whether the young man (who didn't speak English), knew he was going to carry it all the way to our apartment, we don't know, but he willingly followed us. When we got to our apartment, not knowing how much of a tip I should give him, I erred on the high side and gave him about 300 rupees (about 6 dollars), which was probably reasonable per US standards. At lunch, I asked how much was normal - 30 rupees. I guess that young man will either retire early, or be looking for us on our next grocery run.
We had lunch with President Sackley (our brand new Mission President) and his wife (center) and another senior couple that has been here since February. We are actually eating at Pizza Hut, which was really quite good. Other fast food in the same market includes KFC, Dominos and McDonald (without the beef). These places are on the high side price wise, but I think it may be our new home for Americanized food.
We spent all afternoon at the Mission Office, trying to get access to the system, work with one of the former Branch Presidents on our residents permits, and going through files (we still don't understand). We struggle with trying to understand our India saints on the phone and thankfully have office assistants that speak Hindi when we get to the point of frustration. Hindi is used a lot more here than we anticipated and the English is almost as hard to understand. Combine a hard accent, a mobile phone and a little hard of hearing and we find ourselves saying a lot of "I don't understand you", "can you say that again", "is this what you are saying", or some other variation.
Around 5 pm, we took our first ride in an auto rickhsaw (affectionately known as an Auto). Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a picture. Our driver wasn't particularly happy because one of the office assistants told him we were not paying more than the nationals - about 40 rupees for a 3 mile ride. As you'd expect there is a national rate and a foreigner rate. We'll see how we do going back to the office unassisted this morning